Shinde-Fadnavis Cabinet expansion still in limbo

All MLAs in the BJP and rebel Shiv Sena (Shinde) camp in high anticipation as cabinet expansion expected to happen in the coming week

July 25, 2022 04:40 am | Updated 04:40 am IST - PUNE

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and state Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis. File

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and state Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis. File | Photo Credit: PTI

After more than three weeks of the two-man government of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the date of expansion of the new Maharashtra cabinet remains mired in uncertainty.

With Mr. Shinde and Mr. Fadnavis due for another visit to Delhi to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Droupadi Murmu on July 25, sources say that another meeting with BJP top brass regarding the impending cabinet expansion in Maharashtra is likely.

Mr. Shinde and Mr. Fadnavis have been scurrying back and forth between Mumbai and Delhi since the toppling of the MVA regime, having visited the capital no less than five times since taking power late last month.

All MLAs in the Bharatiya Janata Party and particularly the rebel Shiv Sena camp of 40 legislators led by Mr. Shinde, are waiting in keen anticipation of the date of expansion.

With several of the breakaway MLAs like Dada Bhuse, Uday Samant, Abdul Sattar, Shamburaj Desai among others having been ministers in the erstwhile tripartite ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ government led by Uddhav Thackeray, the Sena rebel faction – despite emphatically attributing the motive behind their revolt to ideals and not lure of position - is eagerly eyeing the portfolio allocations.

Besides Mr. Shinde, the rebel faction of 40 Sena MLAs has eight ministers – four cabinet and four minister of state – from the erstwhile MVA regime which they helped topple.

It is expected that all of them will be eyeing berths in the new government.

While the MVA of the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress had sworn-in seven ministers in the first 40 days of its inception in late 2019, the Sena (Shinde camp)-BJP government has been a two-man show for more than 25 days since Mr. Shinde took charge on June 30.

Sources say that the final list will be made in concurrence with the BJP top brass, adding that the cabinet expansion could take place in the coming week.

It is believed that the Monsoon session of the new Assembly, which was due on July 18 but got postponed, is likely to begin from the first week of August and that the expansion will be done before that.

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